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NEVILLE COMPANYE BASIC GUIDELINES
We will be using the basic Rules and Regulations of the B.P.A.S with a few additions...


The society rules required to be upheld by all members are detailed below. As you will see, they are mainly common sense. The aim of the society is to put on a good show for the public, display a high standard of equipment and behaviour, allow its members to enjoy the shows, camping and feasting, have a good time and make sure no one gets hurt!

Combat and Safety
No person can participate in any society event without being a recognized member...

Safety is of utmost importance, we have an excellent record and want to keep it that way. The following list of rules must be obeyed at all times:

  1. All weapons must be safely blunted and fit for use.
  2. You must not carry any sharp blades or arrows of any kind on the field.
  3. You must not use a weapon that is likely to break in combat or normal use.
  4. You must not make deliberate attempts to break an opponents weapon, armour or shield.
  5. Close combatants must wear a steel helmet and mail or plate gauntlets.
  6. Archers, gunners and non-combatants on the field must wear a helmet. Rule 5 applies if they wish to fight hand-to-hand.
  7. All armour including gauntlets must be able to prevent a broken arrow or sword from breaking the skin.
  8. No member to use weapons of any kind until fully trained in their use.
  9. Always pull your blows in combat.
  10. Head shots (helmets only) should be telegraphed and pulled. NEVER hit unprotected head or hands.
  11. Observe the quality and quantity of your opponents armour and adjust your blows accordingly to avoid injury. Do not assume a piece of armour is being worn under a surcoat.
  12. If outclassed in combat, or an item of equipment is rendered unsafe, back of or go down.
  13. Never continue to use a broken weapon.
  14. When in scripted combat or if attacking a non-combatant, telegraph your blows to give adequate warning.
  15. When fighting other societies or groups, who may have different styles of fighting, apply these rules with discretion.
  16. Train as often as possible with emphasis on:
    • Use of a variety of weapons.
    • Safety
    • Fighting as part of a unit, with its simple manoeuvres and drill.
    • Individual combat.
  17. Obey your commanding officer, Sargent, senior society officers and any marshals whilst in battle.
  18. At multi-society shows protect your standard or banner at all costs.
  19. Female members must dress and behave as a man if they wish to fight in the combats, the public can suspend disbelief only so far.
  20. Civilians are classed as non-combatant unless scripted otherwise
  21. When performing crowd charges you must stop at the inner barrier. In wet or slippery conditions stop before the inner barrier.
  22. When displaying your weapons to the public keep one hand on the weapon and warn the public not to touch the blade edge (It may be blunt, but burrs picked up in combat can cut)
  23. Be aware of the edge of the arena. Stop fighting if you come close enough to it that backswings may cross the barriers. If fighting someone who is backing away, it is your responsibility to stop pressing forward in this situation and allow your opponent to come forward away from the ropes. This is especially important if there is only a single roped barrier.
  24. When using Handguns they should not be pointed directly at anyone and a safe distance must be maintained from all participants and the crowd when firing, if in doubt do not fire.
  25. Only Low poundage bows and safety arrows can be taken on the field. When shooting arrows in a battle all shots must be up and over at 45 degrees or more. Do not fire flat unless scripted and it is safe to do so.

Basic Standards of Equipment

These are the basic standards to be obtained by fighting recruits, after joining, and within six months. Non-combatant recruits must reach the same standard minus arms and armour but will be expected to obtain better quality clothing and civilian gear. For up to six months suitable clothing and equipment will be loaned. However, we expect members to start getting their own kit together as soon as possible. If you are unemployed or a student, we will take this into account.

Persona & Basic Kit

ALL members must have:

  • Leather sewn boots and/or shoes
  • Hose, proper to period
  • Shirt, cotton or linen
  • Arming Jacket or Tunic. This may either be a padded ahketon type garment, or a "converted" civilian jacket. It should have reinforced points for armour, cloth faced, not leather, unless of quilted leather construction.
  • Livery or arms. Do not be seen without it.
  • Authentic belt and pouch
  • Helmet and mail or plate gauntlets to fight. These should be TOP priority.

We have our own in-house armourers and craftpersons who can help with this basic kit. We will also give assistance if you want to make things yourself. We would advise members to seek help and advice within the society before splashing out on kit from external sources. When you meet this standard, you can use loan armour up to full plate.

This basic kit is adapted per role:

LEVY ARCHER. Simple helmet, baggy tunic or overjacket, sewn boots or bare feet. Coif or hat for social. Add simple English livery, society or Knight's livery. Basic archery equipment with shield or two handed weapon.

LEVY BILLMAN. As above, with polearm, belt weapon and shield or buckler. Simple padded body protection or better. Should have livery as above.

BETTER (RETINUE) ARCHER. Livery sallet or better helmet. Society or Knight's livery, or livery badge on good body protection. Shield or mantlet/pavise, or sword and buckler or two handed weapon.

BETTER (RETINUE) BILLMAN. As above, open helmet requires use of buckler or shield. Polearm and sword, better than quilt body/arm protection over arming jacket. At least mail gauntlets, plate preferred.

HARRIER: A skirmisher, equipped as any of the above, capable of moving fast and harrying the enemy. Includes Welsh archers, handgunners, Breton javelineers, and dismounted Hobilars. Suggest good padding and shield.

NOTE: Some grounds and events limit our use of archery. However, for those wishing to fight, we will try and provide a handgonne or similar. You will be warned, but we are in the hands of the organisers. Obviously, quality and materials used are far more important than cleanliness or tidiness - a neat, orderly levy billman is a contradiction in term! Some retinue archers were absolute peacocks. A proper garment in rags is better than no garment at all. Quality and standards of behaviour, especially speech, are important. You must not only look the part, but to some degree, act and sound the part. If you "throw yourself in", you will get much more out of the hobby, and it doesn't have to cost!

We have no restrictions on the roles taken by female members but they are expected to dress and act as male in combat.

Behaviour

Don't swear on the field or in earshot of the public. If you do, use Middle English, Norman, Norman French, Anglo-Saxon, Latin or Celtic.

Avoid smoking in kit in view of the public.

Areas designated as total exclusion zones should contain NO modern gear whatsoever. Try to avoid bringing modern gear into any static display area.

If you wear glasses, try to do without them during combat and displays, or use contact lenses.

Character

Each member should find and use a medieval name, this can be taken from an actual historical character or made up. You should be addresses by this name or your rank (e.g. Squire, Sir Knight etc). We encourage members to research their character and period as this helps when talking to the public or film crews.

Your knight should be addressed as "Sir", "Sire", if older, or "My lord", if of rank (i.e Baron, Earl etc.) not by modern or personal medieval name.

Other Knights should be addressed as "Sir", or "Sir Knight", or, if of rank "My Lord". If you are on familiar terms, then by their "title, location or rank". For instance, if you were a new peasant/man-at-arms in a retinue you would address your knight/lord on the field as "Sir" or "My Lord". In a formal setting you may use "My Lord < surname>".

Discipline

We expect that you have self-discipline. It is the role of a Knight, Sergeant or squire to give orders to those in their command. An officer or commandry leader has authority whenever or wherever you are representing the society. You must be willing and able to obey all orders on the field. Please learn your part, and try and act in a professional manner. If in doubt, do the safest option or Ask, but not in the middle of a display, or in hearing of the public.

At a show obey the society officer in charge. There's often a lot of work to do, but if everyone mucks in and helps out the workload on each individual is considerably reduced. Thus allowing everyone to have some free time.

Attendance

We ask members to attend at least three shows a year. Preference should be given to our own major and local shows. Like any hobby the more you but in, the more you get out. You must be willing to participate in the re-enactments, we are not just a research society.

You must not participate in any event as a member of the society without society approval.

You must pay all your own expenses to and from shows. We do not pay members to re-enact, but some expenses may be given if at a paid show. Where we are paid a fee for a show, members expenses are paid out fairly regardless of rank and length of service. Note that multi-society shows are rarely expensed.

Starting Out

Recruits can't participate in a show until they are a recognised member. To become a probationary member they must fill in and sign a membership form stating they have read and understood the society rules. They may then participate and will receive newsletters. No fee is due until six months or they have attended two shows, whichever is sooner, (unless they're keen enough to decide to join sooner)

Recruits start as a non-combatant until suitable training has been given, whether at practices or on site at shows. We prevent recruits from fighting at large multi-society shows until they are deemed ready, although then can go on as non-combatants.

Insurance

Anyone participating in the live steel combat is required to carry personal health insurance as well as sign a waiver of responisibility. Proof of insurance will must be presented to Marshal before being allowed to fight. As the group grows we may look into group coverage.

The society will not be liable for injuries to members in combat.



Rank & Roles

We operate a rank system in order to give everyone a place and role in the displays. Combatant recruits start out as Levy billman and from there progress to man-at-arms, Squire then knight as they get more equipment and ability. Non-combatant roles have less structured ranks and tend to just use their role. E.g. archer, gunner etc., although we do use more senior versions (Sargent of , Captain of etc) for those in charge of archery units or gun crews.